It’s not often that I sit down with my computer in my favorite local coffee shop or at my office desk and not write about my kids. My kids are pretty much the center of my world, and because days with them leave behind volumes of stories, I talk mostly about them.

Not today though.

My sweet husband had a rare weekend home and he practically kicked me out of the house for a couple hours for some “me time”. No joke, I had no idea where I would go or what I would do, alone, on a Saturday afternoon.

Do I get some much needed work wrapped up?

Do I attempt to crank out some blog posts?

Do I read a book or watch a show that I’ve wanted to squeeze in?

After driving around a little, at a little local coffee shop tucked away in a less-visited part of town, ordered my butterscotch coffee, and opened my laptop. Then I landed here, words and thoughts swirling in my head like a pending hurricane.

I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but I woke up this morning after what seemed like the longest, most realistic, and horrifying dream. (I can’t categorize it as a true nightmare since there were no monsters…obviously.) There I was, looking into the face of my already awake husband and immediately he could tell something was wrong.

“Um…are you okay? You don’t look okay?”

The expression on my face must have been significant and I have no idea what it was, but I knew I wanted to cry. Too many horrible thoughts. Too many horrible ideas.

County fair bbq nachos are what I blame.

Even though I could feel all of the emotions boiling up inside of me, ready to spill out everywhere, I quickly said “I had a weird dream. You left me. It was awful.” He laughed and replied that he would never leave me, and that I shouldn’t stress out too much about it. It was just a dream.

But what if my dream wasn’t just a dream? What if my mind was tapping into something deeper?

This is not an episode of Stranger Things, but I can’t help but see the writing on the wall here. Yes, I believe my husband is with me until death parts us, but the idea of being tossed aside or left behind is very real and can happen with our friends, family, etc.

For the sake of total disclosure, I have been seeing a therapist for the last 2 months. After years of knowing things weren’t right in my world, it took having my kids to finally see that I needed help and didn’t want to continue to spiral out and project my own past on them.

Especially with Everly. 

In just a few short sessions with an amazing woman here in town, she began to bring to the surface deeply-rooted insecurities, mentalities, and what she is labeling “PTSD” based on traumatic experiences that have happened over the years.

Now, some of you might know me personally and see this and think, seriously? PTSD? Traumatic experiences? Is she serious? What is she talking about?

The traumas in my life have been both violent at times as well as repeated self-deprecating mantras drilled into me at every crossing. Many of you had no idea, partly because I keep those things to myself and I’ve managed to function socially without betraying what lies underneath.

I don’t want people to think I’m broken or something. 

I’m not at a place yet where I feel like I’m ready to spill what those traumas were, but I know that going forward, they will not be allowed into my world.

Remember when I said that it took having kids to want help? Remember how I said in a letter to Everly how terrified I was of having the task of raising a daughter?

All because of those traumas. 

Fear. Abandonment. Disapproval. Hate. Violence. Insecurity.

All of these emotions, and then some, are things I long to protect both of my kids from. But especially Everly because she is a girl. Because the world will press harder on her than Jude. Because girls are mean and men can be flippant. Because her identity is trying to be force-fed by a society that wants her to feel less-than. And if I’m not the healthiest version of myself, I cannot protect her from the things I walked through.

See, after that brief exchange with my husband this morning, Everly woke up and began to call for someone to get her. My husband went and got her, plopping her on the bed near me. As soon as she saw me, she let loose the biggest smile and giggle, and crawled into my open arms and began to stroke my arm.

“She adores you you know…right?” my husband said with a smile.

In my head I said, “I will protect her and guide her and love her with all of my might.”

I write this, and have read and re-read it a few times, and wonder if it’s worth posting. I wonder if people will understand.

Honestly? Probably not.

Probably not because we aren’t secure enough in our own skin and our own past to allow ourselves to relate. Probably not because you don’t believe me. Probably not because well…this is a blog and blogs can be filled with drama.

That’s okay. At least that’s what I’m telling myself over and over because I am not writing this for you. I’m writing it for me. I’m giving my life, my issues, and my challenges a name and calling them for what they are in an attempt to leave them behind and let them go once and for all.

But if anything here resonates with you, don’t shove it back under the surface in an attempt to silence it. It may go away for a while, but those feelings and thoughts will always come back, and sometimes with a vengeance. Know that your future can only get better, your relationships can only get better, and your life can only get better with help and with owning your stuff.

When we embrace the healthiest version of ourselves, when I am embrace the healthiest version of myself, then we can change the course of our futures.

  • Katie Smith

    Hi Kate! Thanks for sharing your heart with us! I’m “friends” with you on Facebook and see all the love you put into your family. I know I’m only seeing the “highlight reel” but at the very least, you’re giving them your best. I’m in the same season of life. A 3-year-old and 16-month-old twins. All boys. I thought I wanted a girl but after reading your list of all-too-true challenges girls face, I’m happy with my boys, lol! God chose you to be that sweet girls’ mama though so you got this! And I so appreciate you posting the struggles of motherhood – it’s so hard. But so worth it! Also, just an FYI, I saw your husband’s show at the FCM conference in Nashville a few years ago – you were pregnant with your son. I have been a fan of you and your husband since!

    August 15th, 2016 9:49
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    • Kate

      Haha thanks! I love seeing pics of those sweet twin boys…such cuties.

      Even though the majority of my Facebook is a “highlight reel”, it’s blog posts like this that I hope shed light on reality. I never want people to think, “oh her life is so perfect and amazing”, or “she’s got this motherhood thing down”, because I don’t. I’m limping along with the best of intentions and hoping to do anything right along the way. Thanks for following along and I hope when I lay it all out there that people feel encouraged.

      August 15th, 2016 10:34
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  • Jane Hove

    Kate…I know what therapy can mean for changing a life. Between a great therapist and a wonderfully support, loving husband my life just continues to grow in the most positive and amazing ways…self doubt is a saboteur that is not easy to squash…daily mantras and even 3 minutes of meditation will work wonders. So happy that you’re finding YOUR way, this will only enhance what you already have…best wishes Kate for a very happy life!

    August 15th, 2016 10:28
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    • Kate

      Thanks…it’s made a world of difference.

      August 15th, 2016 10:31
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  • Annie F. Downs
    http://anniefdowns.com

    Love you.

    August 15th, 2016 10:29
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    • Kate

      I blame you and my husband for getting me to this place.

      And I’m forever thankful for that shove in the right direction.

      August 15th, 2016 10:31
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